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    Mensch, Homer (14 November 1914 - 9 December 2005)

    Renowned bassist and teacher who started out his classical career in 1932 with the Pittsburgh Symphony after passing an audition for Otto Klemperer, at Carnegie Hall, no less.  He quickly worked his way up to assistant principal bass, first under the baton of Klemperer, then Fritz Reiner.  In 1938, he moved to the Big Apple and played for the New York Philharmonic, conducted by John Barbirolli.  Duty called in 1943 in the form of the United States Army, although it did not interrupt Homer's musical career, as he was awarded a spot in the army concert band in Texas.  After his requisite one year of service, he moved back to New York City and joined the NBC Symphony, playing bass for the legendary Arturo Toscanini, whom Homer regarded as his favourite conductor.  In 1966, at the behest of Leonard Bernstein, he did a second stint with the New York Philharmonic that lasted until 1975, the year he would lay down his most famous notes as a session musician, namely the eerie opening of John Williams' soundtrack to Jaws.  Mr. Mensch was in fact quite busy in the recording studios, playing with a wide variety of artists, including Judy Collins, Gloria Estefan, Frederick Fennell, Aretha Franklin, Joe Jackson, Chaka Khan, Paul McCartney, Hugo Montenegro, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and Luther Vandross.  He also performed with the Little Orchestra Society, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony, New York Choral Society, and the New York Pops, under Skitch Henderson.  In 1970, he embarked on his teaching career at Julliard, where he remained until his death.  He also moonlighted at Catholic University, the Dalcroze School, the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, Queens College, Rutgers, and Yale.  In May 2005, about seven months before his death at the age of 91, he was honoured with the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Service from the Manhattan School of Music.  His wife Constance was also a teacher and a violinist, and she passed away in 2000.  A scholarship fund has since been started in their names at Julliard, the Manhattan School of Music, and Mannes College.   


    Frank Sinatra recordings

    That's What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan O'Kun)

    Reprise RPS 49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)


    Theme from "New York, New York" (Fred Ebb/John Kander)

    Reprise RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)



    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer_Mensch
    2. http://www.juilliard.edu/update/journal/j_articles783.html
    3. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C00E7D61E31F930A25751C1A9639C8B63
    4. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/artist/Homer+Mensch/a/Homer+Mensch.htm
    5. http://shopping.yahoo.com/p:Homer%20Mensch:1927162272
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